Marathon Guide | Q&A with SportsShoes marathon runners |
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Q & A with Sportsshoes Marathon Runners


On April 28th, 2019, thousands upon thousands of people will be taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon. The iconic event is a gruelling 26.2 miles, in an endurance test, which challenges even the leading athletes. With the event not too far away, we caught up with our runners for a Q+A to find out how they are feeling, how training is going and what kind of kit and shoes they expect to wear on race day.

With the event not too far away, we caught up with our runners for a Q+A to find out how they are feeling, how training is going and what kind of kit and shoes they expect to wear on race day.

Q: First of all, are you nervous/excited ahead of the Marathon?

MP: I’m really excited. After a few years out it’s my comeback race. I’m looking forward to it; I’m really enjoying the training so I’m really excited about it.

GB: I’m really nervous actually. It’s my first road marathon. I’ve done off road marathons but never done one against the clock on the road. Very nervous about that and about the crowds as well on the day. So be a lot of weaving between people. I’m more nervous than anything.

MV: Both. It will be my fourth marathon, I still get nervous every time, that doubt in my mind whether I can do it or not. I know it will be an amazing experience, just got to get the miles in.

Q: How much training and preparation goes into a Marathon?

GB: Preparation is taking up most of my time really. I don’t have a set workday so I have to make sure I know when and where I will fit in my training around work. But I’m happy with my training so far, getting a lot in.

MV: Yeah I’ve been following a training plan since January and I feel like my life is work, run, sleep. I can finally start to see improvements and it is paying off now.

MP: For me, as an ex athlete I’m not doing as much as I used to but I still try to hit 70 miles a week, which sounds a lot to most people but I used to do 100-120 miles a week. I’m steadily going away and fitting it around family life.

Q: How has the intensity of the training changed?
Or has it been a constant throughout?

MV: I live in the Yorkshire Dales which means I have hills everywhere so I’m struggling to find any nice flat areas to do any pace work. I hope the hills will pay off as I had to take my pace back to keep up with the mileage. Hopefully now I am getting fitter I can kick on.

MP: I’ve just tried to get used to 70 miles a week and now I’m starting to push harder as I have lost weight and got fitter. I’m a believer that strength brings speed, so the stronger I get, the faster I should be.

GB: I’ve come from a different background completely. I’ve done 800m so I have lots of speed, which I am relying on, and now trying to add the miles in which is difficult. I try to keep my training varied, mix it with fast pace, medium, slow and keep it varied for race day and not get stuck in a monotone pace!

Q: Which shoes have you been training in?
Will you stick to those for the Marathon?

MP: I’ve been wearing my New Balance 1080’s, really high cushioning and comfortable but might go for something a little lighter in the marathon depending on my target time and how fit I get.

GB: I’ve also been wearing 1080’s, really high cushioning. For shorter sessions I have been using a slightly lighter shoe but that’s probably the shoe I will go for as it has so much cushioning.

MV: I’ve been wearing my New Balance 890’s and absolutely love them. I asked New Balance to recommend me a shoe and a few niggles I was having have resolved since wearing them. Firm and responsive, I love them!

Q: Given that a lot of the training is high mileage, how do you recover after?

MP: Eat good food. I always have a recovery drink such as milk or protein. I always wear recovery tights after, but I find the more running I do the more I recover. So I do a lot of short easy runs to recover after a longer run.

GB: I always use recovery tights after a run and try eating as quickly after a run. I have a day of in-between each training session, which does help, but as the mileage has crept up I’ve found it tougher.

MV: I’m another recovery tights person. I try to eat protein after a long run but it is hard after a run to eat something straight away. I try to make the most of my rest days too as I’ve had more fatigue than most times before.

Q: What kinds of sacrifices have been made to be at your best come race day?

GB: Unfortunately I have sacrificed my whole social life (laughs)…well, maybe not all of it. I have sacrificed my drinking and going out in order to get the long runs in. It has been nice to do something different and have something to work towards but I will definitely be ready for a beer after the marathon!

MV: I’ve not had a night out since December! I like to go out and run early so I have to have my head on the pillow by 10pm - there’s not much room to have a life!

MP: For me, having 3 children I don’t have much time on an evening so my alarm is always going off at 5:30am. I don’t actually see it as a sacrifice, I actually quite enjoy it and I like running early doors when everyone else is asleep!

Q: 26.2 miles is an exceptionally long time – how will you stay focused?

MV: I know only too well what is coming up. The worst miles for me will be between 14 and 19. I know you’ve come so far and you’ve still got so much more to go, I will just have to get my head down and get through it listening to my music and enjoying the sights!

MP: The reason I always try to do London is because I struggle with the mentality of a marathon, ticking off miles. With London I tick off landmarks. That way it doesn’t seem as far in my mind!

GB: Not sure I want to be focused on how much pain I’m going through! I will have the music on I have a playlist ready to go and hopefully I’ll get lost in the music and tick those miles off.

Q: How will you stay hydrated and energised during the race?

GB: Not sure really. I will definitely have some gels with me, which I have used before and get on quite well with them. They are quite fluidic and it depends, London is traditionally hot so it will be difficult if it is hot.

MP: It’s something I struggle with. I sweat a lot, I need to take a lot of fuel in. I always laugh when people run through the water station at 3 miles because that’s the time you need to refuel. I will use water for the majority and at 18 miles I will see my wife who will give me flat coke to get me through.

MV: I’m just hoping it will stay cool and I will try get through it! I train with Lucozade Sport which is the drink on the day and that seems to work well for me.

Q: What type of kit will you be wearing on race day?

MV: My New Balance vest and shorts. Putting your name on your vest makes a massive difference as well. Last time I had some difficulties with my knee in the final stages and the crowd support calling my name was incredible!

GB: I’ve got some really good socks that are ideal for high mileage. I won’t change anything like that as I’ve had no problems. I also have some great shorts with compression built in to stop chafing and some great loops for gels.

MP: My New Balance shorts and vest. It’s going to be really warm so shorts and vest, socks and shoes and that’s it. As little as possible.

Q: For those running their first marathon – can you explain the enormity? Both mentally and physically?

MP: I always tell people the marathon isn’t the hard bit. The training is the hard bit. I believe anyone can do 26.2 miles at any point. Don’t think of it as 26.2 miles, just enjoy the day, and enjoy the atmosphere. That will get you through.

MV: I would say crossing the line after the first marathon was my proudest moment, it made it all worth it. It’s normal to have doubts but just keep going, follow your training plan and you will get there.

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